Photo courtesy of Helios Visions

A Chicago-based company that provides drone-based infrastructure inspection services is bringing new offices in Texas — including Austin.

Helios Visions revealed its expansion into Texas in December 2022, and named three new offices in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin. The company specializes in collecting automated and repeatable aerial data via drone technology within the architectural design, engineering design, and construction industries.

"Houston, Austin, and Dallas-Fort Worth are large markets, and it is a natural next step of our continuing expansion strategy," says Ted Parisot, co-founder of Helios Visions, in a news release. "Moving into the Texas market allows us to best serve the needs of both existing and new clients in architecture, engineering, construction, and commercial real estate.

"Coupled with the urgent need for infrastructure inspections across the United States, it was the right time to expand our drone services in Texas," he continues. "This also represents the continued growth and value provided by the commercial drone services industry as a whole."

Helios Visions, founded in 2015, will offer its Texas projects drone services in the following areas:

  • Infrastructure Inspection (bridges, overpasses, viaducts, etc.)
  • Building façade inspection
  • Construction progress documentation
  • Commercial real estate

"Given its central location and the high population growth trajectory, we knew that expanding into the Texas market would allow us to best serve the needs of both existing and new clients," says Calvin Gin, co-founder of Helios Visions, in the release. "I am often traveling across Texas for other projects including Luby's Restaurants and Charming Studios, so it is a natural progression for Helios Visions to expand our drone service offerings here."


This article originally ran on our sister site, InnovationMap.

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Rapper Lil Wayne rises from the dead for 2023 tour with stop in Austin


Rap icon Lil Wayne's 2023 "Welcome To Tha Carter Tour" will make a stop at Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin on May 4.

The 28-city spring tour, announced January 31, kicks off on April 4 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, lasting for a little more than a month before wrapping up in Los Angeles on May 13.

He plans three stops in Texas. In addition to Austin, Lil Wayne will also perform in Houston at House of Blues on May 2 and in Dallas at House of Blues on Wednesday, May 3.

The always-busy rapper, whose most recent album was 2020's Funeral, named the tour after his series of five albums called Tha Carter. There are rumblings that Tha Carter VI and another album, I Am Not a Human Being III, will both be released in 2023, but no official release date has been announced for either.

The five-time Grammy Award winner is nominated for three Grammys at this year's ceremony on Sunday, February 5, for collaborating on DJ Khaled's song "God Did." He will also receive the prestigious Global Impact Award at The Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective pre-Grammy event, given for his personal and professional achievements in the industry.

Tickets for the tour go on sale on at 10 am Friday, February 3 at Lilwayneofficial.com


  • Tue Apr 4 — Minneapolis, MN — The Fillmore Minneapolis
  • Thu Apr 6 — Fargo, ND — Scheels Arena
  • Fri Apr 7 — Omaha, NE — Baxter Arena
  • Sat Apr 8 — Madison, WI — The Sylvee
  • Sun Apr 9 — Chicago, IL — Radius
  • Tue, Apr 11 — Detroit, MI — The Fillmore Detroit
  • Wed Apr 12 — Toronto, ON — HISTORY
  • Thu Apr 13 — Boston, MA — House of Blues
  • Sun Apr 16 — New York, NY — Apollo Theater
  • Mon Apr 17 — Philadelphia, PA — The Fillmore Philadelphia
  • Tue Apr 18 — Silver Spring, MD — The Fillmore Silver Spring
  • Thu Apr 20 — Charlotte, NC — The Fillmore Charlotte
  • Fri Apr 21 — Raleigh, NC — The Ritz
  • Sat Apr 22 — Atlanta, GA — Tabernacle
  • Mon Apr 24 — Birmingham, AL — Iron City
  • Wed Apr 26 — St. Louis, MO — The Factory
  • Thu Apr 27 — Nashville, TN — Marathon Music Works
  • Fri Apr 28 — Cleveland, OH — House of Blues
  • Sun Apr 30 — Lexington, KY — Rupp Arena
  • Tue May 2 — Houston, TX — House of Blues
  • Wed May 3 — Dallas, TX — House of Blues
  • Thu May 4 — Austin, TX — Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater
  • Sat May 6 — Salt Lake City, UT — The Complex
  • Sun May 7 — Denver, CO — Fillmore Auditorium
  • Tue May 9 — Phoenix, AZ — The Van Buren
  • Wed May 10 — San Diego, CA — SOMA
  • Fri May 12 — San Francisco, CA — The Masonic
  • Sat May 13 — Los Angeles, CA — The Wiltern

7 smaller Austin music festivals to keep the jam going after SXSW


This is a warning: South by Southwest is coming. Everyone knows. The most recent news from the festival-to-end-all-Austin-festivals involves a third round of showcasing artists for the music leg, including names like New Order and Killer Mike. But many Austinites prefer to stay out of the way during the full-city transformation, opting instead to visit smaller, more intimate festivals.

Thankfully for those fans, this January was peppered with news from other festivals coming in the spring, reminding Austin what it's like to do things big, in smaller, more genre-specific events. The following festivals cover lots of ground from American traditions to world music, back to American alternative. Austinites, as always, get to stay close to home.

Old Settler's Music Festival — April 20 - 23
This Americana festival brings 31 groups and solo artists across four days of camping to Dale, Texas, about 45 minutes southeast of Austin (near Lockhart). "Americana" is more a guideline than a strict rule, with appearances by Yola and Austin artists Shinyribs, Matt the Electrician, Ley Line, and more. CultureMap published some sets to look out for, and a full lineup and tickets are available at oldsettlersmusicfest.org.

Austin Reggae Festival — April 21-23
Austin Reggae Festival has announced some of the artists on its 2023 lineup, including all headliners: The Skatalites, Jesse Royal, and Inner Circle. The event raises funds for Central Texas Food Bank, and has previously gathered more than $1 million for the organization via ticket sales and direct donations. At Auditorium Shores, the festival promises "good vibes" and is easily accessible from around the city. Tickets go on sale on February 1 at austinreggaefest.com.

MOCO Music and Arts Festival — April 28-30
More camping is in store for Austinites, this time at a secret location in Lexington, about an hour northeast of Austin. The festival has rebranded since its 2022 debut as MoFest, but the mission remains the same: to celebrate Austin's creative scenes. The "intimate weekend celebration" with a capacity of only 500 released a lineup featuring Paul Cherry, Die Spitz, Fat Tony, and more. A full lineup and earlybird tickets ($145.14) are available at mocofestival.com.

Austin Psych Fest — April 28-30
A product of Levitation, an alternative record label and festival, Austin Psych Fest announced its 2023 lineup at The Far Out Lounge. The two stages will include Toro Y Moi, Austin greats the Black Angels, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and indie pop hero Cuco. Ensuring the psychedelic vibes are fully realized, the festival has an epic light show planned. The full lineup and tickets (starting at $75 before fees) are available at levitation.fm.

Austin Blues Festival — April 29
Some posts about the exciting inaugural Austin Blues Fest have unintentionally clouded the scene it was meant to celebrate. It is the first iteration of this particular festival, held at Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park, but it's not the first blues festival to bless the city (for example, Eastside Kings Festival, among others). Rather, Austin Blues Festival is the revival of a decades-old tradition at the same park, called Antone’s Blues Festival. Still, the festival gaining new life also brings Los Lobos, Booker T's Stax Revue, and Blk Odyssy to Austin audiences all at once in an outdoor party. The full lineup and tickets (starting at $50 before fees) are available at moodyamphitheater.com.

Shows a little further out, but with recent big news:

Utopiafest — May 5-6
Yet another camping festival. This is the "finale" of Utopiafest, a long-running festival, at its more recent home base at Reveille Peak Ranch about an hour northwest of Austin. It'll eventually return (in October) to its more remote first location, out in Utopia, Texas, for two more events. There's no lineup yet, but in January the team launched a permanent venue and bar in Buda, called Meridian, which will live on when Utopiafest is over. CultureMap covered the brass tacks of the transition and tickets are available at utopiafest.com (select specific days and needs to view prices).

Oblivion Access Festival — June 15-18
One of Austin's biggest and darkest "underground" events, Oblivion Access Festival, just announced the first wave of its lineup including headliners Godflesh and Tim Hecker. The multi-venue festival promises more than 50 names on the lineup by the time all are announced. Oblivion draws fans and artists from around the world to the Red River Cultural District, to experience the venue-hopping tradition the area increasingly leans into. The full lineup and tickets (click each show for prices) are available at oblivionaccessfestival.com.

Austin chefs turn out for farmer-focused food festival, returning this spring

Field Guide

Sometimes reinventing the wheel is a good thing, which may explain the immediate and warm welcome Field Guide Festival received upon its launch in 2021 and return in 2022. Moving past the food festival trope of tiny bites, loud music, and general Baccanalian vibes, Field Guide Festival seeks to foster connections between farmers, chefs, consumers, and everyone in between. Returning to East Austin on Saturday, April 22, the innovative event invites Central Texans to consider their role in the future of food in the Austin community.

Founded by female powerhouses, Lindsey Sokol and Trisha Bates, the goal of the fest is to leave guests inspired to participate in their local food system, equipped with the knowledge of where to find the best, most sustainable food available in Austin and the surrounding area.

"Field Guide Festival presents an answer to the question, ‘Where does your food come from?’ by highlighting the local farmers and chefs of Austin," Bates shares in a release. "Our festival is the only place in the city where you will see the farmers side-by-side with the chefs who transform their food, creating dishes uniquely representing this exact time and place. You'll never have this food, presented in this way, again."

The recently-released 2023 lineup features an impressive roster of 34 farmer and chef partners who will partner together to create dishes exclusive to the festival using in-season produce. Tickets will include a full day of food and beverages, cooking demonstrations, symposium conversations, live music, and a farmer’s bodega — all benefiting the Central Texas Food Bank.

“The Central Texas Food Bank is honored to be a partner of such a special gathering,” says Mark Jackson Chief Development Officer of Central Texas Food Bank in a releasE. “Not only will revenue from the event help ensure that thousands of our neighbors facing food insecurity have enough to eat, but attendees will learn about the impact food has on our whole community while having fun.”

Curated by Field Guide Culinary Director Chef Philip Speer, the 2023 chef and farmer lineup is below:

  • Abby Love (Abby Jane Bakeshop) & Amalia Staggs (Farmshare Austin)
  • Colter Peck (Elementary) & Becky Hume (VRDNT Farm)
  • Fiore Tedesco (L’Oca D’Oro) & Sean Henry (Hi-Fi MYCO)
  • Graeme Little (Fairmont Austin) & Julia Poplawsky Lewis (Cielito Lindo Farm)
  • Graham Fuller (Emmer & Rye) & William Nikkel (Trosi Farms)
  • Joaquin Ceballos (Este) & Anamaria Gutierrez (Este Garden)
  • Krystal Craig + Ian Thurwachter (Intero) & Celia Bell (Two Hives Honey)
  • Mia Li (Ora King Salmon) & Joe + Kasey Diffie (Joe’s Microgreens)
  • Natalie Gazaui (Chef Consultant) & Gregory Mast (Central Texas Food Bank Garden)
  • Nicholas Yanes (Juniper + Uncle Nicky’s) & Perrine Noelke (Local Pastures)
  • Rhys Davis & Michael Fojtasek (Maie Day) & Marianna Peeler (Peeler Farms)
  • Kevin & Rosie Truong (Fil N Viet) & Travis Breihan (Smallhold)
  • Susana Querejazu (Lutie’s) & Hannah Gongola (H2Grow Farms)
  • Todd Duplechan (Lenoir + Vixen’s Wedding) & Ryan Gould (Geosmin Regenerative)
  • Zechariah Perez (Sour Duck Market + Odd Duck) & Montana Stovall (Dancing Bear Farm)
  • Ooni Chef Demos by Casey Wilcox (Little Trouble) & Christina Currier (Comedor)
  • Force of Nature Chef Demo by Katrina Ferraro and Freddy Diaz (Las Brasas)

Featuring a mix of savory, sweet, and plant-based options, all food and beverages are included with each ticket, allowing guests to roam and sample everything. Tickets are $100 for adults, while a new Young Foodies ticket option ($50 for ages 13-30) and free entry children 12 and under encourages the whole family to come savor and celebrate the best of Central Texas food.

“New this year, Field Guide will welcome guests of all ages!" says founder Lindsey Sokol. "We’ve created a food festival that puts education first in order to strengthen the food system for the future, including the next generation. Our goal is to present food in a way no one else in Austin is doing, where the local food system is the priority.”

For more information and to purchase tickets for the event, please visit fieldguidefest.com or follow along on social media @fieldguidefest.